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- Guy Garrick - 4/43 -
"Exactly," returned Garrick. "My idea of the thing, Marshall, is that I should work with, not against, the regular detectives. They are all right, in fact indispensable. Half the secret of success nowadays is efficiency and organization. What I do believe is that organization plus science is what is necessary."
The local undertaking establishment was rather poorly equipped to take the place of a morgue and the authorities were making preparations to move the body to the nearest large city pending the disposal of the case. Local detectives had set to work, but so far had turned up nothing, not even the report which we had already received from McBirney regarding the blood-stained car that resembled Warrington's.
We arrived with the coroner fortunately just before the removal of the body to the city and by his courtesy were able to see it without any trouble.
Death, and especially violent death, are at best grewsome subjects, but when to that are added the sordid surroundings of a country undertaker's and the fact that the victim is a woman, it all becomes doubly tragic.
She was a rather flashily dressed girl, but remarkably good looking, in spite of the rouge and powder which had long since spoiled what might otherwise have been a clear and fine complexion. The roots of her hair showed plainly that it had been bleached.
Garrick examined the body closely, and more especially the jagged wound in the breast. I bent over also. It seemed utterly inexplicable. There was, he soon discovered, a sort of greasy, oleaginous deposit in the clotted blood of the huge cavity in the flesh. It interested him, and he studied it carefully for a long time, without saying a word.
"Some have said she was wounded by some kind of blunt instrument," put in the coroner. "Others that she was struck by a car. But it's my opinion that she was killed by a rifle bullet of some kind, although what could have become of the bullet is beyond me. I've probed for it, but it isn't there."
Garrick finished his minute examination of the wound without passing any comment on it of his own.
"Now, if you will be kind enough to take us around to the place where the body was discovered," he concluded, "I think we shall not trespass on your time further."
In his own car, the coroner drove us up the road in the direction of the New York state boundary to the spot where the body had been found. It was a fine, well-oiled road and I noticed the number and high quality of the cars which passed us.
When we arrived at the spot where the body of the unfortunate girl had been discovered, Garrick began a minute search. I do not think for a moment that he expected to find any weapon, or even the trace of one. It seemed hopeless also to attempt to pick out any of the footprints. The earth was soft and even muddy, but so many feet had trodden it down since the first alarm had been given that it would have been impossible to extricate one set of footprints from another, much less to tell whether any of them had been made by the perpetrators of the crime.
Still, there seemed to be something in the mud, just off the side of the road, that did interest Garrick. Very carefully, so as not to destroy anything himself which more careless searchers might have left, he began a minute study of the ground.
Apparently he was rewarded, for, although he said nothing, he took a hasty glance at the direction of the sun, up-ended the camera he had brought, and began to photograph the ground itself, or rather some curious marks on it which I could barely distinguish.
The coroner and I looked on without saying a word. He, at least, I am sure, thought that Garrick had suddenly taken leave of his senses.
That concluded Garrick's investigation, and, after thanking the coroner, who had gone out of his way to accommodate us, we started back to town.
"Well," I remarked, as we settled ourselves for the tedious ride into the city in the suburban train, "we don't seem to have added much to the sum of human knowledge by this trip."
"Oh, yes, we have," he returned, almost cheerfully, patting the black camera which he had folded and slipped into his pocket. "We'll just preserve the records which I have here. Did you notice what it was that I photographed?"
"I saw something," I replied, "but I couldn't tell you what it was."
"Well," he explained slowly as I opened my eyes wide in amazement at the minuteness of his researches, "those were the marks of the tire of an automobile that had been run up into the bushes from the road. You know every automobile tire leaves its own distinctive mark, its thumb print, as it were. When I have developed my films, you will see that the marks that have been left there are precisely like those left by the make of tires used on Warrington's car, according to the advertisement sent out by McBirney. Of course, that mere fact alone doesn't prove anything. Many cars may use that make of tires. Still, it is an interesting coincidence, and if the make had been different I should not feel half so encouraged about going ahead with this clew. We can't say anything definite, however, until I can compare the actual marks made by the tires on the stolen car with these marks which I have photographed and preserved."
If any one other than Garrick had conceived such a notion as the "thumb print" of an automobile tire, I might possibly have ventured to doubt it. As it was it gave food enough for thought to last the remainder of the journey back to town.
THE LIQUID BULLET
On our return to the city, I was not surprised after our conversation over in New Jersey to find that Garrick had decided on visiting police headquarters. It was, of course, Commissioner Dillon, one of the deputies, whom he wanted to see. I had met Dillon myself some time before in connection with my study of the finger print system, and consequently needed no second introduction.
In his office on the second floor, the Commissioner greeted us cordially in his bluff and honest voice which both of us came to know and like so well later. Garrick had met him often and the cordiality of their relations was well testified to by Dillon's greeting.
"I thought you'd be here before long," he beamed on Garrick, as he led us into an inner sanctum. "Did you read in the papers this morning about that murder of a girl whose body was found up in New Jersey in the underbrush?"
"Not only that, but I've picked up a few things that your man overlooked," confided Garrick.
Dillon looked at him sharply for a moment. "Say," he said frankly, "that's one of the things I like about you, Garrick. You're on the job. Also, you're on the square. You don't go gumshoeing it around behind a fellow's back, and talking the same way. You play fair. Now, look here. Haven't I always played fair with you, Garrick?"
"Yes, Dillon," agreed Garrick, "you have always played fair. But what's the idea?"
"You came up here for information, didn't you?" persisted the commissioner.
"Well do you know who that girl was who was murdered?" he asked leaning forward.
"No," admitted Garrick.
"Of course not," asserted Dillon triumphantly. "We haven't given it out yet--and I don't know as we shall."
"No," pursued Garrick, "I don't know and I'll admit that I'd like to know. My position is, as it always has been, that we shouldn't work at cross purposes. I have drawn my own conclusions on the case and, to put it bluntly, it seemed to me clear that she was of the demi-monde."
"She was--in a sense," vouchsafed the commissioner. "Now," he added, leaning forward impressively, "I'm going to tell you something. That girl--was one of the best stool pigeons we have ever had."
Both Garrick and I were listening intently at, the surprising revelation of the commissioner. He was pacing up and down, now, evidently much excited.
"As for me," he continued, "I hate the stool pigeon method as much as anyone can. I don't like it. I don't relish the idea of being in partnership with crooks in any degree. I hate an informer who worms himself or herself into a person's friendship for the purpose of betraying it. But the system is here. I didn't start it and I can't change it. As long as it's here I must accept it and do business under it. And, that being the case, I can't afford to let matters like this killing pass without getting revenge, swift and sure. You understand? Someone's going to suffer for the killing of that girl, not only because it was a brutal murder, but because the department has got to make an example or no one whom we employ is safe."
Dillon was shouldering his burly form up and down the office in his excitement. He paused in front of us, to proceed.
"I've got one of my best men on the case now--Inspector Herman. I'll introduce you to him, if he happens to be around. Herman's
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